Kenneth Morris, a math teacher at San Francisco’s Archbishop Riordan High School, was the treasurer for the American Federation of Teachers Local 2240 (AFT 2240) in 2019 when a grand jury handed down an eight-count felony indictment against him for bank fraud and theft of union assets.
After a full investigation from the Office of Labor Management Standards’ San Francisco District Office, it was discovered that Morris had embezzled upwards of $23,000 in member dues and union property over a three-month period.
Are we disgusted that another union leader was caught red-handed victimizing hardworking Americans to line his own pockets? Absolutely.
Are we surprised by it? Not in the least.
As AFT 2240’s treasurer, Morris was responsible for collecting union dues checks and depositing them into the union’s bank account. However, between Sept. 10, 2018, and Dec. 10, 2018, Morris fraudulently endorsed five of these dues checks and deposited them into his own personal bank account under false pretenses.
Each of these deposited checks reportedly ranged in value from $1,000 to $4,000 and included member dues from teachers, counselors and librarians employed by the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Diocese of San Jose.
On top of the five counts of bank fraud, Morris was also charged with three counts of theft of union assets after it was discovered he had stolen union property on multiple occasions, adding up to a combined value of $18,720.75.
In August 2019, Morris pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte and was facing a maximum imprisonment of 30 years for each bank fraud count and five years for each count of theft if convicted.
He was arraigned and released on bond while he awaited his trial.
On March 24, Morris was sentenced to time served and three years of supervised release.
He was also ordered to pay $101,583 in restitution plus a $100 special assessment.
This sentencing was a result of a Nov. 20, 2019, court hearing during which Morris pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud in the amount of $101,583, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1344(2).
Kenneth Morris abused the trust of the Catholic school teachers and staff who put their faith in his abilities as a treasurer and his morals as a leader. But this story shines a light on a much larger problem within AFT, since it’s far from the first dues stealing scandal an AFT leader has been the center of, and it likely won’t be the last.
It really makes you question how they’re vetting their officers and whether there’s a culture of corruption trickling from the top down.
On second thought, maybe the question has already been answered.
At this point if you are an AFT union member, the only way to know for sure your paycheck isn’t being siphoned off by a criminal union leader is to opt out and keep your money for yourself.